road trip U.S.

Eight Things I Never Knew About The U.S.

I grew up in a border town, so my knowledge of American culture is pretty vast. Add to that, I watched mostly American programming on T.V. when I was a kid. However, on a recent road trip to the U.S., I realized there were eight things I never knew about my neighbour country:

1. They Have No Idea How Cheap Their Gas Is

I heard Americans talking about the price of gas, like it was a bad thing. I drove more than 1,500 miles (2,460 kms) and paid $143.24 USD ($193.00 CAD). That’s really cheap y’all!  It really is.

2. They Put Grapes in Their Salad

I’m not sure if all Americans do this, but when I ordered a salad in a little neighbourhood cafe in Cleveland, I found grapes in it. I have never had grapes in a salad. But you know what? It was pretty awesome. I now put grapes in my salad. Thanks America.

3. They Love Trailer Park Boys

Well, at least the college kids do. I had no idea. I thought the Trailer Park Boys were strictly a Canadian thing. I’m glad Americans appreciate our humour.

trailer park boys

4. They Are Not Comfortable Talking About Politics

Maybe it’s just the Trump/Clinton campaign. I found it very odd that with only a couple months before the election, there are no lawn signs, no bumper stickers, nothing. Seriously, if it weren’t for T.V., you would never know there is an election on the horizon. To be fair, I think I saw 3 lawn signs in the 10 days I was driving around, but they were no bigger than about 24″ x 18″. In Canada, the signs are everywhere, and they are obnoxiously large. So I found the lack of signs very very strange.

I did try to start conversations with Americans about the election, but it was just awkward. So I stopped.

5. They Still Honour The ThankYou Wave

Such a nice surprise. So many times during my road trip, when I allowed someone to merge, I got a thank you wave. Seems this is a lost art in Canada, so I was pleased to see it isn’t dead in the U.S.

thank you wave

6. They Are Obsessed With Rewards Points and Loyalty Cards

Seriously, stop it. Every store I went to:

“Do you have a rewards card?”


“Would you like one?”

“No thank you”

“Really? You can save 10% from your first purchase, and then you’ll get monthly coupons, and in the month of October only you’ll also get an additional 25% off your purchase over $100”.

“I’m Canadian”

“Oh, ok, you have a nice day”.

7. They Still Use Pennies

They hate pennies, but they still use them. In Canada we officially stopped the penny in 2013. When I counted out some pennies during a purchase, I apologized for getting rid of my pennies. One clerk said to the other “We should have a donation jar for pennies, and when it gets full, just donate it to charity”. That’s a great idea. You should do that.

8. HC and No HC

We don’t know what that means. I just hoped I didn’t have any HCs when I drove through Ohio – apparently they aren’t allowed.


I love Americans. Y’all are the nicest people anywhere. Thank you for the warm welcome everywhere we went. Thank you for the cheap gas and awesome outlet malls.

Americans: Is there anything about Canada you didn’t realize until you came here?

Canadians: Did I miss something? Is there something you’d like to add?

I welcome your comments.



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Comments 7

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  1. Love this post!! I am not a fan of grapes in my salad, I just don’t think grapes belong in a savory salad, that may just be a personal preference. Yes, we do think gas is expensive. Although, it is cheaper to just drive then take a plane anywhere in the United States. Politics is a tough subject. I feel like most people will get into an argument if it’s discussed, so perhaps people would just rather not talk about it and maybe that is why people act so awkward. And I love pennies, if I see one on the ground I pick it up and put it in my piggy bank at home. Those add up.

    I have never been to Canada, but it’s on my list of places to go! And the HC sign means no trucks are allowed to go through that area with hazardous cargo. (The big 18 wheelers) I had to google it to find out what it meant. I think most signs say HM on there and it stands for No Hazardous material and it goes for the big trucks that carry cargo, if what I looked up is correct!
    Great post, I enjoyed reading it!

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  2. Well, the thing I found out when I travelled there for an extended vacation was that you can’t tap your credit card. Nor do you enter your PIN. They still have stylus and screen for a signature.

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